Cong invokes 'Chiru magic' to revive fortunes in Seemandhra

Cong invokes 'Chiru magic' to revive fortunes in Seemandhra

 The scene at Indira Bhavan, headquarters of the Congress party in Seemandhra, resembled the venue of a film function. The party released an audio CD loaded with campaign songs which had more than the mild semblance of film numbers to it.

Facing a total wipe out in the residual Andhra Pradesh following the state’s bifurcation, which is bitterly opposed by people in the region, the desperate Congress has turned to its film star leader K Chiranjeevi who had a personal hand in putting together the CD that contained popular hit numbers from his movies Mutha Mestry and Gang Leader.

Indeed, Chiru fans at the launch erupted into frenzy. “My fans have discipline otherwise they would have rocked the Joint," Chiru, who is heading Congress campaign in Seemandhra, said. The CD will be played across the 13 districts of the residuary Andhra Pradesh for the next few weeks, as the region goes to polls on May 7.

The party is depending heavily on Chiranjeevi to revive its fortunes in the region. But APCC chief Raghuveera Reddy has adopted a pro-active approach and wanted to leverage Chiranjeevi’s glamour quotient during the Bus Yatra. The yatra did not live up to the expectations, despite Chiru’s presence.

"The anger against Congress has subsided, people are listening to us," APCC vice president Vatti Vasantha Kumar observed.

On his part, Chiranjeevi called a meeting of over 1500 of his fan associations across the state and elicit their support to Congress.  Raghuveera was present at this meeting and appealed to them to bring all Chiru fans into Congress. A few of Chiru’s fans were formally admitted into the party and were welcomed with the ceremonial “Kanduvas”. The event took place at Indira Bhavan.

"During the meeting, Chiru's fans were briefed on how to deal with his younger brother Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena as majority of them are common fans of Chiru family which includes Pawan, Chiru's son Ramcharan Tej and brother Naga Babu," a Krishna district Chiru fans association representative said.

Chiru admits that he has a tough task breathing life into a party that is struggling to hold on to respectability.

“My first job is to convince people that the state’s bifurcation was inevitable and that the Congress would do everything to solve the problems of Seemandhra people,” he said.
One of the first leaders to meet Sonia Gandhi post bifurcation, Chiranjeevi said: “Sonia Gandhi said I could ask anything for Seemandhra except for stalling Telangana as the party was committed to granting statehood.”

In the last Assembly elections, Chiranjeevi lost in his hometown Palakollu by a margin of 5,000 votes, but won the Tirupati seat by 1,800 votes.

But he hardly showed up in the Assembly, present for just 34 days. He was elected to Rajya Sabha on April 12, 2012 and had to wait until October of that year to be inducted into the Manmohan Singh cabinet.

On the silver screen, Chiranjeevi had a stellar career as he successfully broke the domination of Kamma community that saw NTR and ANR families control distribution, exhibition and finance of films.

Since 1978, he had acted in 149 films and is waiting to star in his 150th film which is taking times since his entry into politics five years ago.

During his hey days in the film industry, a magazine had hailed him as 'The new money machine' when he clocked a whopping Rs 1.25 crore in 1992 for Aapathbandhavudu.

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